Literacy begins at home and there are many simple things parents can do with their young children to help them get ready to read. But parents can’t do it all alone, and that’s where libraries and early learning programs can help.
In the Comox Valley, there are a wide variety of early learning programs for families, but also regular library programs for children up to the age of six.
Library programs are based on five simple actions parents can take to help their children learn to read.
“Talk, sing, read, write and play,” said librarian Colleen Nelson. “These are everyday activities that help children develop early literacy skills. You can fit in these practices in little bits of time with your children throughout the day and have a dramatic impact on their ability to learn to read.”
The American Library Association developed the Every Child Ready to Read program, which incorporates the five practices of early literacy: talk, sing, read, write, and play. These core literacy practices serve as the foundation of story time programming at Vancouver Island Regional Library. The storytimes at Vancouver Island Regional Library are interactive and fun. There’s singing, ringing bells and shaking brightly colored scarves while learning rhymes, as well as books and storytelling. The first goal is to make story time fun, but also to give parents the tools they need to prepare their babies, toddlers and preschoolers for learning to read when they get older.
“We try to give parents and caregivers something they can take away and enjoy with their children anywhere,” said Nelson. “If a parent or caregiver understands that singing songs helps children learn that letters make sounds, which is a core skill for learning to read, they’re more likely to try it at home. It also helps parents to see themselves as their child’s first teacher.”
Storytime is held weekly at the Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland branches of Vancouver Island Regional Library. “Storytime is my favourite time of week,” said Nelson. “I love watching children and caregivers enjoy all the library has to offer.”
To learn more about the Babytime and Storytime programs at the library please visit the library’s website www.virl.bc.ca or the Comox Valley Library Branches Facebook page.